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Last minute trip advice

  • nicnak13

    Joined Travelfish
    21st July, 2013
    Posts: 3

    Hi All

    Ive been lucky enough to be able to plan a last minute trip,and am looking at heading to Cambodia, in 2 days time. Will be booking flightstonight.

    We wanted to fly in to Siem Reap and out of Phnom Phen butwas too expensive. So will be most likely be flying in and out of Phnom Phenh.
    Then either get bus/taxi/overnight bus to Siem Reap andback, time consuming, but cant not go to Siem Reap

    We have about 10-11 days, so was thinking going straight onto SR when we arrive, spend 3 days there, then back to PP for 2-3 days then therest of the time on a beach/island somewhere. Although it is wet season, itwill still be hot at least and hopefully not wet the whole time we are there.

    Can anyone give us some suggestions on places to go, thingsto see, islands/beaches that are good.
    I know 10 days isn’t really long, and we want to chill outas well, but we cant go to Cambodia without going to Angkor Wat.

    Thanks

    #1 Posted: 22/7/2013 - 00:50

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  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2090
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    At least 107

    Lucky you - last minute trips are exciting stuff!

    So you have 10-11 days in Cambodia. If you plan to travel to Siem Reap (and back to PP), then you will effectively lose the most part of a day each time in transit. It's a decent bus ride, taking about 6 hours, and watching rural Cambodia out the window is always interesting. That brings your days down to 8-9.

    I'd suggest limiting yourself to 3 destinations max and spend 2-3 days in each: Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and maybe Kampot (for a relaxing river town) or Otres (for beach time). This will essentially eat another 2 1/2 days (or more depending on bus times, etc). I wouldn't aim for the islands as you'll just have that much more time in transit.

    #2 Posted: 22/7/2013 - 01:12

  • tyler

    Joined Travelfish
    7th December, 2010
    Location Canada
    Posts: 253
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    At least 71

    great advice - exactly what I would have said :)

    #3 Posted: 22/7/2013 - 08:43

  • nicnak13

    Joined Travelfish
    21st July, 2013
    Posts: 3

    Flights booked. Was able to squeeze in a couple of extra days! so all up 13 days. Thanks for your advice!!
    Where is a good beach place to chill out, thats not going to be trashy like Nha Trang or Phuket. I have a feeling Sihanoukville is going to be like Nha Trang in Vietnam ??? and we really didnt like it much there.
    We are also flying straight on to SR when we arrive in PP so this will save us time as well.
    Also, money, is it best to use US$ should we get before we arrive, or is it ok to just get it out at ATMs as we go, which is what we did in Vietnam. Cant believe we leave tomorrow!

    #4 Posted: 22/7/2013 - 16:43

  • tyler

    Joined Travelfish
    7th December, 2010
    Location Canada
    Posts: 253
    Places visited:
    At least 71

    As long as you have enough US$ to pay for your visa and a tuktuk - you'll be fine. ATMs are everywhere.
    You will usually use the US to pay for almost everything and receive Riel as change (1000R = 25 cents).
    As for a beach - you'll hear mixed reviews about S'ville. I find it is best to check things out for myself - the islands off the coast might be what you're looking for. I just read a great review at the top of the homepage.
    Good luck!

    #5 Posted: 23/7/2013 - 00:34

  • Geer1

    Joined Travelfish
    14th September, 2012
    Posts: 540
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    At least 42

    Go to Siem Reap, then back to Phnom Penh and then off to Kampot /Kep/ Koh Tonsay , 13 days is enough you could probably check out Sihanoukville as well. Alternatively could check out Sihanoukville and Koh Rong instead although I didn't see either so not sure how they really compare(heard Sihanoukville is sleazy but Otres supposedly is a decent beach). Kampot area has a nice vibe to it with some good food(for Cambodia) as well as decent things to go see/do(nothing great but good enough to kill time) and Koh Tonsay is a nice little island for relaxing on and can be done in a day trip if you are really short on time(kind of nice to stay overnight since it is fairly cheap and many of the people only go for a day trip so not as crowded in the evening). Koh Tonsay isn't a party island and they don't have dedicated electricity but if you don't mind simple huts and want to relax and read a book, eat decent food, swim, get a massage right on the beach etc then it is a pretty good little island. I am not much of a beach guy but I enjoyed just hanging around in a hammock with a beer and a book for the few days I was there.


    As for money, take a little with you but ATMs are plentiful. Canadia bank atms don't charge a service fee and are in the main cities/towns.

    #6 Posted: 23/7/2013 - 01:22

  • sihanouk

    Joined Travelfish
    1st August, 2013
    Posts: 1

    It depends on your arrival time. If you can, travel overnight. Cambodia's night buses are relatively safe and surprisingly comfortable. (The toilet's ain't so great, though...) That should free up your day time for sight-seeing.

    In Siem Reap, you don't need much time. You'll be "templed out" after 2 days. Head down to the coast, to Sihanoukville or Kampot , or both. Rent a motorcycle, see the beaches, hit up a few good bars. (Try the Emerald in Downtown, Purple Midget by the beach, or - I forget the name - the last bar on Otres.)

    If you can, and if you want to get off the beaten track, take a motorbike from Kampot and explore the mountains. The coastline is pretty short and has some cool roads.

    EDIT: I forgot the islands. Koh Rong is the biggest and relatively quiet, but it's got a lot of construction this now. Koh Thmei is the best if they have bookings. There are only 5 bungalows on a huge island, so lots of privacy.

    #7 Posted: 1/8/2013 - 07:44

  • nomadicate

    Joined Travelfish
    25th June, 2013
    Posts: 14

    Sihanoukville was definitely my favourite place in Cambodia. The locals are really friendly, and the place has such a mellow, relaxed vibe. I found Koh Rong kind of over rated - and expensive. My advice would be just chill on the mainland. Stay at Utopia! Really cheap and the bar there gets really busy at night. But depends what you're into!

    #8 Posted: 5/8/2013 - 12:25

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Problem for you in visiting the coast is rainy season. Whereas you only get showers in SR or PP Sihanoukville can tip it down for days on end at this time of year. Unrelenting,believe me. The only way around that is to try to get a weather forecast from a local tv channel. Ask someone to translate. They seem to be able to predict the weather pattern for a few days ahead.

    #9 Posted: 6/8/2013 - 01:46

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    "Problem for you in visiting the coast is rainy season."

    Another problem for the OP is that your "advice" comes about two weeks too late and they are already finished their trip.

    #10 Posted: 6/8/2013 - 05:01

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  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    In that case they were really unlucky if they went to the coast as it's been raining heavily in Sihanoukville for the last week or so.
    OK smart ass, is that a fair answer?
    Oh, and 13 days starting from the 23rd July comes to around 5th august so your maths is way out of line as well.

    #11 Posted: 6/8/2013 - 10:37

  • nicnak13

    Joined Travelfish
    21st July, 2013
    Posts: 3

    haha thanks for all your info! We got back 2 days ago. Hadan amazing time. And you’re right, we got a fair bit of rain on the coast.

    We flew in to Phnom Penh and had booked an onward flight straight to Siem Reap ,which got us there early afternoon. Siem Reap was awesome, really liked theplace.
    The next day we got a tuk tuk driver and went to Ankor Wat for sunrise forabout 5am. Sunset wasn't that amazing, I can imagine the summer sunset wouldbe! but the whole place is incredible. I don't understand how people can spenddays on end there though. We were done by about 10am (actually a fair bitearlier than that, but we stuck it out) Think we were back at the hotel by11am. My advice would be to get there for around 5am and skip hanging about forthe sunset and go straight in to looking around the temples before the billionpeople on tours arrive. It’s hard to see anything when its jam packed withpeople on tours taking a billion photos posing on every single thing!
    We enjoyed the temples where the tours didn't stop at a lot more. But it’s atruly amazing place.
    The next day we got a mini bus to Phnom Penh (think we spent 90% of the tripairbourne!), which happened to be the election weekend! The city was a ghosttown. It was weird. There was a moment when we were stuck in lock down ina street and were the only 2 people standing there, surrounded bypolice/military, slight panic haha. Ithappened so quick we had no idea what was going on! They let us through though.
    The day after the election we caught a bus down to Sihanoukville, spent 2nights there which was good. It was fairly quiet, but I could see how in Summerit would be super busy. We went down to Otres beach which was much nicer thenS/villes beach.
    We then caught the boat over to Koh Rong and it poured with rain, we wentthrough a storm on the way across and the lighting was striking so close to us.It poured rain the whole day, then all night, then all the next day, so wedidn't get to do anything. We caught the afternoon boat back to Sihanoukvilleand spent another night there. We both woke up with a stomach thing that day sowere so glad to get to a nice cool hotel with a proper toilet and hot shower.
    The following morning we got a bus to Kampot, and as soon as we got off thebus, the rain started again, and did not stop. Heavy. We managed to get out tofind some food and have a look around, but by that time a lot of places wereclosing because it was raining so much.
    We got an early bus back to PP and spent our last 3 nights there. What adifferent place it was to when we were first there.
    Went to the shooting range near the airport then to a kickboxing show at a TV station. Also went to the Phnom Tamao Wildlife RescueCentre, which I would really recommend, but would probably look in to a tour,we left it too late for a tour, and would advise not getting a Tuk Tuk there,its a long dirty and dusty ride, our lungs were killing us. Or if you do get atuk tuk, wear a face mask. We saw the monkeys, bears, lions, cats, elephants,crocs, otters etc... I don’t normally go to places like this but I did read upon it and it was really good. Some of the stories were heart breaking but theyare in a much better place to where they were.

    Cambodia was brilliant, we loved it, and thanks again foryour suggestions!

    #12 Posted: 8/8/2013 - 23:56

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Sounds good. I was in Sihanoukville in June and the sun shone everyday but July was pretty much a washout.
    Have they got large boats running to the islands now because the small fishing vessels are not safe in the squalls which come up very suddenly?

    #13 Posted: 9/8/2013 - 01:56

  • HCLau

    Joined Travelfish
    9th August, 2013
    Posts: 1

    Siem Reap /Phon Penh/ Ho Chi Minh City

    We are a group (2 couples) of pensioners from Sarawak,travelling to Phon Penh from Kuala Lumpur on 23rd Sept.2013.
    Arriving from Kuala Lumpur on 23/9/13 ,we intend to stay in Phon Penh for a night,then heading to Siem Reap to visit
    Angkor Wat . 2 nights in Siem Reap,we travel by Bus (hopfully by Mekong Express) to Ho Chi Minh City ( 2 nights)
    From HCMC ,we fly home on 28/9/13. Can anyone shade us some interesting places on our journey or the sites we must
    visit to make our trip more memorialble .Thanks to all.

    #14 Posted: 9/8/2013 - 06:56

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